The Kentucky House passed a bill on March 17 allowing the state to pursue P3s to fund transportation and infrastructure projects throughout the state. The bill contained an amendment forbidding tolls to fund a replacement for a bridge spanning the Ohio River between Cincinnati, OH and Covington, KY.
In addition to forbidding tolls to pay for the proposed Brent Spence Bridge replacement, lawmakers voted to remove $37 million in state funding the next day, March 18, all but killing the project.
“(Ohio) Governor Kasich and I remain committed to getting this project moving, not only for the safety of all drivers in the Northern Kentucky area, but also to enhance regional economic development opportunities,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Northern Kentucky lawmakers remain adamantly opposed to tolls for a replacement to the Brent Spence Bridge, which carries an estimated 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product each year.
News of the bridge’s possible demise shocked local business leaders.
“The Legislature has until April 15 to determine if the Brent Spence Bridge is a priority project for this state, as we view it: critical for jobs and the flow of commerce,” Adam Caswell, vice president of public affairs for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said. “We desperately need a member of our legislative caucus to step forward and deliver a realistic solution that helps create jobs and maintain the flow of commerce.”